Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was
between two moons our first person plural — Kelly Sauvage Angel, sonic boom 16 (2019)
Radhamani Sarma contemplates phases of the moon:
Very interesting to read this one-line haiku by Kelly Sauvage Angel about two moons. Ever since Shristi, or Creation, the universe has been shining with the moon, sun and stars. And we humans have developed them, and with them, in our writings with an abundant zest of creative aura.
When we know of and view the new and full moons, our observations of astronomical bodies are sharpened, even more so when they occur in literature.
In this single-line haiku, Kelly has woven around her sentiments the image of Moon. Her take, “between two moons our first person plural,” leads us to a plethora of meanings. Here, “moons” might signify two beautiful, round-shaped young girls, compared to or even imagined as two moons, trying to capture the beauty of the moon. The speaker, with a sense of mild irony, points out that, from her/ his point of view, we humans vie with each other for beauty, become jealous, then are puzzled about how to win over others’ charm.
“our first person plural” also has a significant implication that, “We men, while captivated by the cool beauty of those young girls, would not let others vie for us” — a sort of possessive attitude on the part of men who have fallen prey to the young women’s captivating charms.
It can be construed this way, too: When a mother feeds her sweet little baby in view of the moon, she compares herself and imagines taking her little one to a world beyond our comprehension. Hence, “our first person plural” gets a shift and a commendable facelift.
Images of the moon, as metaphor and simile, have been given life in the literature of all times, by writers of all walks of life.
As this week’s winner, Radhamani gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
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in the tree’s scar a bud — Adjei Agyei-Baah, Honorable Mention, THF's Monthly Kukai (April 2020)